David Tepper followed the path of college coaches and experienced coaches NFL coach path, none of which worked.
Here’s one the Carolina Panthers owner hasn’t tried yet: hiring a former player to move from the broadcast booth to the head coach’s office.
Former Carolina tight end Greg Olsen, the color analyst for Fox’s No. 1 team in the NFL, would be interested in the Panthers’ vacancy if approached, according to sources close to Olsen who have granted anonymity in order to speak freely.
This would be a big step forward considering Olsen’s. coaching experience is limited to coach his son’s Pop Warner team (in fact, Panthers great Luke Kuechly has been the defensive coordinator for Olsen’s Pop Warner team in recent years). But the 38-year-old has been immersed in the league since moving into broadcasting after retiring following the 2020 season.
Tepper would face public backlash if he pursued Olsen, much like the Houston Texans did so when they interviewed Josh McCown for their vacant head coaching position in back-to-back hiring cycles. McCown, who had been a volunteer assistant at his sons’ high schools in Charlotte and Texas, joined Frank Reich’s Panthers staff as quarterbacks coach last winter. He was fired Monday by interim coach Chris Tabor. following the dismissal of the Reich.
In 2017, Hall of Fame guard John Lynch moved from the Fox booth to the front office when he took over as general manager of the San Francisco 49ers, a move considered unorthodox. THE 49ers became one of the most successful teams in the NFL under Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan.
Olsen, whose father was a longtime New Jersey high school coach, called the PanthersDallas Cowboys game in Charlotte, North Carolina, on November 19. He remained close to many people in the organization, including Tabor, who was a Chicago Bear assistant when Olsen played for the Bears early in his career.
Olsen is in a unique position as an NFL analyst, a man at the top of his profession who is expected to be replaced on the best team next year by Tom Brady. Fox Sports executives — and members of Olsen’s NFL broadcast team, including play-by-play voice Kevin Burkhardt — couldn’t be more optimistic about Olsen’s future as as an NFL analyst, but Brady is Brady.
If the future Hall of Fame quarterback decides to stick with the mega-deal he signed with Fox (which appears to be the case, at least for next year), he’ll be the No. 1 analyst on the NFL on Channel. He is overpaid by News Corp. to think differently.
Regardless of Brady’s impending decision, Olsen has already proven he can handle the job as the NFL’s No. 1 analyst. At 38 years old, Olsen has a bright future in broadcasting, regardless of her employer.
Still, given the uncertainty surrounding Fox Sports’ lead analyst role, it doesn’t hurt Olsen to have his name associated with his former team’s vacant coaching position.
He has been honest in interviews about his situation, as well as showing self-awareness and humor. “This story is really the same as it was a year ago, when there was obviously a lot of conversation about it,” Olsen said Athleticism in September. “It was part of everything that happened in the carousel of sports media, the movement, the new networks and the traditional faces from one network moving to another. Obviously, all this was accentuated by the fact that Fox got the Super Bowl. It really was a perfect storm of scenarios that led to a very interesting topic.
If Olsen and his broadcast reps are thinking about this strategically in terms of broadcasting, the smart move would be to stay with Fox Sports. It would be difficult for Brady to stay in broadcasting long term – he clearly has plans for sports ownership – and Olsen will be rewarded for making things work. He would also be part of the NFL’s No. 2 broadcast team, which always means major games as well as playoff assignments. But maybe the lure of returning to the league as a coach is real.
(Photo: Mike Comer/Getty Images)